Genetic diversity ignored at federal level to save lobo, lawsuit says

A lawsuit brought by a federal court challenged a recent plan to recapture the Mexican gray wolf, known as the New Mexico lobe, as insufficient to protect the species and prevent its extinction.

Last month, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released a revised recovery plan for the wolf – listed as federally endangered since 1976 – removing a population limit of about 320 wolves living in their experimental habitat, covering parts of southern New Mexico and Arizona.

The agency also planned to increase the targets for the release of wolves into the wild in hopes of using a process known as “cross-breeding”, which involves sending wolves raised in captivity to live in pre-established caves.

This was a claim in the lawsuit filed Tuesday, which also claimed the new plan set insufficient population targets and wrongfully excluded the wolf’s recovering population from lands that the case said were “promising” for habitats in the Grand Canyon and the southern Rocky Mountains. -region.

A Mexica gray wolf is depicted.

Another complaint was that the plan would consider success in addressing genetic diversity based on the age of the released wolves, not if they breed.

Plaintiffs called on a federal judge to declare the Fish and Wild Service’s plan in violation of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and set it aside for further review before the plan takes effect.

Michael Robinson of the Center for Biological Diversity, one of the plaintiffs ‘organizations in the case, said that increased genetic diversity was crucial to increasing the number of wolves and that the federal government’s lack of adequate policy would threaten the species’ survival.

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